Back-of-the-envelope engineering suggests that the forces on the dome are rather large: the internal area of the dome is, roughly, 70 square in or 400 square cm, a temperature differential of 20 K is equivalent to a pressure of about 6.5kPa or 1 psi: the expanding air exerts a force of 70 lbf or 30kg on the dome!!
Air pressure caused the explosive disassembly of my port!
I can't claim that this is my idea as I heard that Hong Kong and Florida have already discussed my plight. I am pleased to say that the initial prognosis is highly positive and I can't thank Edward and Ryan enough, not to mention the intecession of Alex Tattesall, the first recipient of my anguished email on Saturday afternoon!
Edited by tdpriest, 04 March 2011 - 12:55 PM.